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Mine Worker Injured By Equipment, Company Fined $70,000

Court Bulletin

Mine Worker Injured By Equipment, Company Fined $70,000

Ministry of Labour

Convicted: FNX Mining Company Inc. o/a KGHM International (FNX); head office 66 Wellington Street West, Toronto, Ontario.

Location: The company's copper ore mine (Morrison Mine) near Onaping (Sudbury area), Ontario.

Description of Offence: A worker suffered critical injury while riding in the bucket of a scooptram (similar to a front-end loader).

Date of Offence: January 11, 2017.

Date of Conviction: September 7, 2018.

Penalty Imposed:

  • Following a guilty plea, the company was fined $70,000 by Justice of the Peace Michael G. Kitlar in Sudbury court; Crown Counsel Judy L. Chan.
  • The court also imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

Background:

  • On January 11, 2017, a worker was performing remote mucking (loading extracted ore) from a draw point (a funnel-shaped opening through which the ore is removed). The worker was using a scooptram ( a Load Haul Dump truck equipped with a front-mounted bucket, used to move broken rock/ore in a mine).
  • After some time, the worker noticed that the in-and-out movement of the scooptram in the draw point had damaged ventilation tubing and the area was filling up with the diesel fumes from the scooptram. A supervisor directed a second worker to help with the repair. 
  • The two workers placed a 5' x 11' section of screen mesh in the bucket of the scooptram, intending to elevate it at a particular place at the draw point, where it would be used. It was agreed that the first worker would work from the bucket to carry out the repairs, while the second worker would operate the scooptram.
  • About half of the mesh section was outside of the bucket, so the first worker got into the bucket and stood on top of the mesh to weigh it down and prevent it from moving. The second worker raised the bucket and curled it back, in order to lift the part of the mesh section that was still on the ground.
  • As the bucket rotated back and up, the worker in the bucket was pinched between the bucket and the frame of the machine as the hydraulic cylinder was closing. The worker suffered crushing injuries requiring surgery. 
  • The operator's guide for the scooptram states that riders should not be allowed in the bucket. The Ministry of Labour engineer who examined the scooptram concluded that the scooptram was not designed for the particular task for which it was being used, given the potential hazards of pinch points, among others.
  • FNX failed to take the reasonable precaution of ensuring that the scooptram was used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and/or in a way in which it was designed to be used, contrary to section 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. This is an offence under section 66(1) of the act.

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